Friday, February 15, 2013

Gerald of Wales

Keeping a record of your travels can be fun.   This place, and that place...what I liked, and what I didn't like.  The food, the people, and the scenery are often included.  My impressions written down are a must.  A travel-diary through Wales written in 1188 AD by a priest [usually the only ones who could write at this time], is one of a kind.  Such are the accounts titled "The Journey through Wales" and "The Description of Wales".  Written by Giraldus Cambrensis [Gerald of Wales] during a preaching-tour of Archbishop Baldwin trying to gain support in Wales for the Third Crusade.  It provides a first hand account of the country called Wales during this historic period.  Lewis Thorpe translates [it was first written in Latin] and Penguin Books publishes the texts.  The front of the book is shown.

In "The Description of Wales", chapter 17 [p. 251 in the book above] is written the following impression.  As a genealogist, this has given me a deeper understanding of Welsh genealogy and my family tree.

                             Titled:  "Their respect for noble birth and ancient genealogy."

"The Welsh value distinguished birth and noble descent more than anything else in the world.  They would rather marry into a noble family than into a rich one.  Even the common people know their family-tree by heart and can readily recite from memory the list of their grandfather, great-grandfathers, great-great-grandfathers, back to the sixth or seventh generation, as I did earlier on for the Welsh princes: Rhys son of Gruffydd, Gruffydd son of Rhys, Rhys son of Tewdwr, and so on."

What a story, and what an account of Wales it is for the genealogist who needs to time travel to 1188 AD.

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